Child care workers are vanishing and it’s hurting the entire economy

And now it’s starting to backslide.

The workforce reductions — coupled with ongoing challenges of low pay and spotty benefits for workers — have economists and policy experts sounding the alarm: If this industry falters further, it could spell trouble for the entire labor market as working parents scramble to find care for their kids.

“Now that we’re seeing a decrease [in employment], that should be worrying for many folks who are relying on these services,” said Caitlin McLean, director of multi-state and international programs at the University of California Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.

“This is absolutely a contributor to the wider worker shortage that we’re seeing,” she added.

Every time a classroom goes virtual, a child care center caps out on enrollment or a day care center closes, parents — typically mothers — can’t go to work, she explained.

The child care industry was “barely getting by before the pandemic,” she…

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